ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — If you get an email asking for money from the chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, it's a scam.
The New Mexico Attorney General's Office warned Friday about a new email scam seeking to extort money. The message suggests that recipients need to appear in court or face arrest if they don't pay $750.
The poorly worded email includes Justice Charles Daniels' name and photograph but incorrectly lists his title as court clerk.
Daniels told The Associated Press on Friday that this is the first he has ever heard of someone using his name to perpetrate a scam. With the effort not being very well thought out or orchestrated, he joked that it just might belong in the "Stupid Crooks file."
"Given our struggles with getting funding to keep our courts operating, anybody would be a fool to think use of my name would get somebody to fork over any money," Daniels said, referring to the battles being waged as the state Legislature grapples with a budget crisis.
At the start of the 60-day session in January, Daniels said New Mexico's justice system was on life support and that lawmakers needed to decide whether to fund politically popular projects or those necessary to comply with the basic responsibilities of government.
The judiciary branch has struggled this year to pay salaries, compensate jurors and provide attorneys to poor defendants.
Under legislation approved Friday, the judiciary could see a slight increase in funding, including money to help municipal courts and to fill a shortfall for court-appointed attorneys in abuse and neglect cases.
As for the email scam, authorities say there have been plenty of unscrupulous emails making the rounds in recent years that have impersonated everyone from local police and sheriffs to state Attorney General Hector Balderas. But they say this appears to be the first in which a state Supreme Court justice's name has been tapped.
Balderas' office and the high court are warning people not to respond to the email.